Hudson Sock Auction Brings Warmth At A Cold Time
By Jamie Larson
It’s hard these days, for Americans with the capacity for empathy, to know how to prioritize our not inexhaustible philanthropic energies and resources, beset as we are, on all fronts now, by animus and woe. When the whole nation seems to be falling quickly into a long cold darkness, how does one choose which piece of limited kindling would do the most good if lit first?
Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling anyway. So color me surprised when I found a supremely worthy cause in the form of the upcoming Hudson Neighborhood Knitters Sock Auction. The event, to be held Saturday, Feb. 18 at Verdigris Tea and Chocolate in Hudson (where the group meets to stitch and crochet regularly) will auction off dozens of handmade socks stuffed with prizes, including a $100 bill. The proceeds from the sale of the footwear will go towards the pre-assured purchase of 500 pairs of high-quality thermal socks, distributed by the Hudson Salvation Army to local folks in need this increasingly difficult winter.
Socks have always been the number one item requested by the homeless, and the founder of Hudson Neighborhood Knitters Claudia Krisniski says being able to make a meaningful personal impact in the community while doing something they love (and would be doing anyway) shows that every little bit counts.
“Knitters love to give back,” says Krisniski, owner of the Country Wool shop. “We live in turbulent times. I grew up in the 60s and it feels the same now. People need to ground themselves and take care of their neighbors.”
The auction will be first and foremost a really fun event. There will be refreshments, a wine bar and music.
“When we display the socks there are also fun facts, including how many hours they took to make,” says Krisniski. “One pair took ten episodes of Gun Smoke.”
The power of knitting as a symbol of charity and support was on full display recently during the national and international women’s marches when hand-knit pink “cat” hats were imbued with a powerful meaning. When the opposition seems insurmountably monolithic, symbols become more important than ever. There will be a pair of pink socks with a set of cat ears up for auction.
“We have to take care of our neighbors now. I hope we will be fine,” says Krisniski, who supplied a lot of pink yarn through Country Wool for those revolutionary hats. “If we look out for each other locally, hopefully we can get through what the administration throws our way.”
Professional auctioneer Rupert Fennell has volunteered his time to auction off the socks. There will be at least 25 pairs up for grabs; they include some extremely intricate styles and designs for men, women and children. A few pairs are already on display at Verdigris, so if you didn’t already have an excuse to go there this week, you’re welcome.
“The knitters have always been a joy to have at Verdigris. They brighten up my day whenever they meet,” says Verdigris owner Kim Bach. “This is a great way to help the homeless and I think the plan is to do this every year. So far, the socks that we’re displaying are incredible. They are each really different and so many people are participating. It’s really impressive.”
Indeed. Knitting a gift of support, whether it’s pink hats for women’s rights, blankets for troops abroad or socks for the homeless, takes an implicit dedication of time, thought and care. It’s something hard to define about tradition, warmth, home and compassion. It seems more difficult each day to decode why we all must struggle so and what on earth we can do to help each other but I can tell you one thing I know that helps; socks. Socks help.